Since I was a child, fantasy movies have ignited my imagination and fuelled my love of the genre.
Ten movies in particular stand out as instrumental in developing my passion for fantasy and desire to write my own stories in the genre.
Here they are, in roughly chronological order:
Jason and the Argonauts (1963)
This film brought to life the Greek myths of Jason’s quest for the Golden Fleece. The sword fight with skeleton warriors and the giant bronze statue Talos still stick with me as some of my earliest memories of watching movies.
Clash of the Titans (1981)
This epic fantasy adventure film based on Greek mythology was my gateway into ancient myth and legend. My Nan had it on VHS and I watched it endlessly. I loved watching Perseus battle creatures like the Kraken, Pegasus the flying horse, and the snake-haired Medusa. The stop-motion effects were groundbreaking, but sadly seem almost laughable today.
This retelling of the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table brought to life the classic tales of Merlin, Guinevere, Lancelot, and the Lady of the Lake in gritty, dramatic fashion. The stunning cinematography and soundtrack intensified the sense of magic and myth.
The Dark Crystal (1982)
Jim Henson’s imaginative film featuring mystical creatures called Gelflings living in a world of dangerous beasts and an ominous dark crystal mesmerized me. The visuals were groundbreaking for the time.
Return to Oz (1985)
This dark, imaginative sequel to The Wizard of Oz took me back to the land of Oz, but in a much creepier fashion. Dorothy has to defeat a villainous witch named Mombi and her gallery of interchangeable heads, as well as a rock creature named Nome King. The visuals were delightfully scary and weird.
This musical fantasy film starring David Bowie as the Goblin King Jareth captured my imagination. I loved the whimsical creatures, the clever riddles and puzzles, and Jennifer Connelly’s courageous journey to save her baby brother. And there has never been a better mullet in any movies, ever.
This fantasy action film starring Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery as immortal warriors fascinated me with its concept of immortals living secretly among humans and fighting each other in swordfights that could be only ended by beheading. The blend of fantasy, action, and romance was utterly compelling to me.
The Princess Bride (1987)
This comedic fairy tale adventure had everything a fantasy lover could want: fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, and miracles. And it’s inconceivable how many quotable lines can be squeezed into a script…inconceivable!
Ron Howard’s fantasy adventure film about a dwarf warrior protecting a special baby met a craving I had for imaginative, original fantasy films not based on established book series. Val Kilmer and Warwick Davis were perfectly cast.
The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003)
Peter Jackson’s epic adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy trilogy set the standard for fantasy films. The scale, cinematography, costumes, and unforgettable characters have made this my favourite fantasy film series.
This collection of movies ignited my lifelong love of fantasy. Their sense of adventure, imagination, and wonder inspired me to craft my own tales of magic and myth.
My writing career was born out of a desire to recreate that feeling I had as a child watching these genre classics.
What are your favourites?